Prevalence of and factors associated with distraction among public transit bus drivers

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, planning - safety/accidents


Bus, driver, distraction, prevalence, public transit


Objective: Recent research has suggested that driver distraction is a major cause of driving performance impairment and motor vehicle collisions. Research on the topic has focused on passenger vehicles, with studies suggesting that drivers may be distracted nearly 33% of the time spent driving. To date, no study has examined the prevalence of distraction specifically among public transit bus drivers.

Methods: Over a three-month period, trained investigators observed and recorded distraction behaviors of bus drivers. Distraction prevalence was compared by route characteristics (e.g., geographic area, travel speed) using chi-square test. A general estimating equation logistic regression was used to estimate p-values for distraction prevalence by driver demographics.

Results: Overall, there was a 39% prevalence of distraction. The most prevalent distractions were due to interactions with another passenger. Distractions were more prevalent among drivers≥50 years of age, on city streets or highways (relative to residential streets), and when there were more than 20 passengers. Distractions were the least prevalent in suburban areas, with the highest prevalence observed in city centers and rural areas.

Conclusions: Driver distraction is a common problem for public transit bus drivers, mainly due to other passengers. Drivers should be educated on the hazards of distracted driving and on ways to avoid distraction.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Taylor&Francis, copyright remains with them.